Council set to introduce emergency measures for pedestrians and cyclists

Plans to implement changes to help walkers and cyclists remain socially distant.

The City of Edinburgh Council is set to become one of the first local authorities in the UK to introduce emergency measures to help pedestrians and cyclists to travel safely while observing physical distancing guidance.

We have been working closely with Transport Scotland and Sustrans to develop an approach to re-designating road space. This will benefit from support from a £10m fund to help local authorities introduce temporary active travel solutions, announced by the Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson on Tuesday (28 April).

Over the coming weeks we’ll be implementing several changes to help prioritise walking and cycling. Immediate actions will tackle areas highlighted as pinch points for pedestrians and cyclists and will include some road lane closures and the implementation of temporary cycle lanes. There has been significant, understandable public demand for action to help facilitate safe daily exercise and the movement of essential workers.

In the medium term, as lockdown measures continue and are eventually eased, we will develop a citywide approach to more significant changes, such as expanded cycle lanes and the creation of bus gates. Longer term, it is proposed that progress on more permanent schemes under the Active Travel Programme is brought forward.

Council Leader Adam McVey said:

The way we move around the city has changed significantly over recent weeks and it’s clear that we need to respond to this. We’ve been working closely with the Scottish Government to develop measures to help pedestrians and cyclists travel safely while remaining socially distant, so we’re delighted that Transport Scotland has confirmed funding to support local authorities to meet this challenge.

Our commitment to encouraging and facilitating safer, more convenient walking and cycling in Edinburgh remains as strong as ever. We want to ensure that our city can support essential journeys and let local people access their local open spaces by creating safe, accessible routes to do so.

Depute Leader Cammy Day said:

As we plan for the city’s recovery, we must consider ways in which we can help people make daily journeys while limiting the potential impact of coronavirus, and maintaining physical distancing is essential to this.

We’re going to be making changes around the city over the coming weeks to achieve this, as well as progressing plans to further improve infrastructure as we emerge from the crisis.

Immediate measures will include the closure of the following roads:

  • Silverknowes Road, from the roundabout at Lauriston Farm Road and Silverknowes Parkway to Marine Drive
  • Braid Road, from the junction at Braidburn Terrace and Hermitage Drive to the entrance of the Braid Hills Hotel (implemented by Sunday, 3 May)
  • Links Gardens, Leith, from the junction with Links Gardens Lane to the Gladstone Place/Vanburgh Place (implemented by Sunday, 3 May)

These locations have been identified in close dialogue with relevant Council services and Police Scotland who have expressed concerns in each area. Further emergency measures are being investigated for implementation in the weeks beginning 4 May and 11 May and these will be communicated as soon as possible.

We will continue to quickly address other ‘pinch points’ and local issues, making use of Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders where necessary, which allow urgent amendments to be made to road layouts to help create more space for people on foot or bike.

The next steps will see a report brought to the Policy and Sustainability Committee in May outlining a citywide plan for more significant changes to the road network to create additional space for walking and cycling. Alongside this, we will be investigating early delivery of some of our more ambitious active travel projects which will help people to make essential journeys safely and quickly as we move towards a new normal.

Further information on the Council's response to the coronavirus outbreak is available online.

Published: April 29th 2020